The boys went back to school on Monday after a good winter break. TR was ready to go back, QT was reluctant, and I was definitely not ready for my boys to go back to school! TR is our social butterfly, he lives for recess and being with his friends. I worry about QT. As excited as he was for kindergarten, formal school hasn’t been his thing so far. Most days moving cows in a blizzard sounds like a better idea to him than going to school. As for me, I prefer having my boys’ home with me. I spend most of my afternoon counting down the minutes until they come home. It is pretty quiet around our house without my wild little boys.
That first day back, QT and I were waiting outside the school for his teacher to come and collect him and his classmates. I felt like we had done a pretty good job keeping up with where his teacher left off for the break, and really wasn’t too worried about him forgetting anything he had learned in school up until now. I was listening to other parents talk with each other about what school work they did with their kids over the break. Those parents were busy! They were working on their letters, numbers, and coloring all break long.
Other than bedtime stories, we never cracked a book all vacation. While QT’s classmates were watching cartoons, he was sledding behind the feed wagon. While other kindergartners were practicing writing their numbers to 30, QT was counting cows to 50 on the feed ground. While they were practicing their letters and sounds, QT was recognizing his cow’s name on her ear tag and reading animal tracks, or looking for “M” words like muskrat, mountain, and mud. We hunted coyotes, set traps, shot our bb guns, and explored a good part of our big backyard.
QT may write his 3’s backwards, or not always color inside the lines and we need to work on that, but he can find his way home from anywhere within a 5 mile radius of the house, can tell the difference between most of our cows and tell you their names (better than I can anyway!), and tell you the difference between a coyote’s and raccoon’s tracks. Listening to these parents made me think about my teaching choices over the break.
Should I have spent more time working on more traditional school type activities? Maybe, but at this point I feel that having a son who is aware of his surroundings and has the tools to navigate this world is just as important as being able to color inside the lines. Education is important, but I want him to experience life from the outside, not based on what he sees on a video game or reads about in a book about someone else’s experiences. I want him to know how to work, get outside, get dirty, and play. Let’s face it. He’s only going to be little once, and he will have plenty of time later to write a book for someone else to read about growing up on a cattle ranch in northern Nevada.